JIS News

A contract valued at $9.3 million has been signed with Heffes Sales and Company Limited, for the supply of uniforms for 2,644 Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) employees.
Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill, who signed the contract today at the Ministry in Kingston, said the uniforms were important, as the wearing of these would help to instil a sense of identity and responsibility, and assist in the process of promoting discipline.
The categories of workers covered under the contract include conductors, drivers, inspectors, dispatchers, bus washers, janitors and maintenance and administrative staff.
Managing Director of Heffes Sales, Laurence Heffes, explained that while the deadline for supply was eight weeks, the uniforms would be supplied on a batch basis.
Commenting on other issues affecting the company, the Transport Minister said he was very concerned about the nature of accidents involving JUTC buses, caused by indisciplined passengers in recent times.
He said that since one particular accident, in which a passenger suffered fatal injuries, the JUTC had issued advisories to the public, warning that unruly passengers would not be allowed to travel on the buses. In addition, a notice has been circulated to all drivers and conductors, advising them of the course of action to be taken if passengers misbehave.
“If passengers act in an unruly fashion, the bus is to be stopped and they are to be asked to disembark. If further problems ensue, the inspectors and the Police are called on for assistance,” Mr. Pickersgill said.
“I simply want to say to all who use the buses that, while the bus crews are there to serve are responsible for your conduct. Reckless or dangerous attitudes and subsequent activities on the buses are almost certain to result in distress for all concerned,” Mr. Pickersgill added, noting that the issue of passenger indiscipline was under-reported, but was an extensive and serious problem affecting the JUTC bus crews.
He also made mention of instances in which passengers boarded buses and attempted to bully conductors into allowing them to travel without paying.
The Minister reminded that the bus service was not only created to achieve efficiencies in the public transport system, but also to reintroduce a level of civility to the service. “We will not tolerate indiscipline.the furniture is not to be abused and passengers are to be seated in the areas reserved for seated passengers. The buses are not designed for frolic and other forms of careless behaviour,” he emphasised.
Commenting on the indiscipline of some bus crews, Mr. Pickersgill said that while efforts were being made to reduce the accident rate, the frequency of these were still too high. He pointed out that the management of the JUTC was working to improve the level of discipline at every aspect of the company’s operations, as the company was primarily judged by the conduct of the drivers and conductors.
Mr. Pickersgill noted that members of the public did not come in contact with most of the company’s staff, and that the drivers and conductors were always on duty as ambassadors of the company.
“Apart from being properly and uniformly clad and neatly attired, your utterances are of the outmost are on show every day and of course, blood runs in your veins and sometimes you are treated badly, but you must sometimes just grin and bear it,” the Minister implored the drivers and conductors.

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